The Alligator in the Sewer

I’d rather be in Florida
among the cypress knees and egrets,
but all things considered, I’m doing
pretty close to all right.
I’ve had some babies down here,
you know, and sent them on their way
through the pipes and into people’s toilets.
It was fun to imagine their reaction—
my children and these people
regarding each other in the half-light
from the medicine cabinet or
the streetlamp outside. I know
bathrooms and how they work
because that’s where I was kept
before I became too big to be cute,
but not too big to flush. I lived
in some lady’s tub. It was decent—
she fed me chicken livers and some
kind of salad with marshmallows in it.
But after a while, as my claws scrabbled
on the porcelain and nothing ever changed
except that I got bigger, after a while
with no others of my kind and nothing
to do but eat, I began to plot my escape.
If that lady hadn’t flushed me, I was going
to flush myself. It’s a pretty good life,
no matter how I got here. I think I’ll stay.

Alligators in New York Sewers


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